The question in the title was intended to be rhetorical, but since word of the cancellation got around, it’s found an answer: the press.
Fox News, which broke the story earlier today, writes that the president’s decision to scratch the annual event made “the decades-old tradition a victim of his increasingly contentious relationship with major news organizations.”
Regardless of how you answer the chicken-or-egg question of who cast the first stone, the media have been unremittingly hostile to Trump, according him 90% negative coverage. At a time, moreover, when Christmas is under siege by the media — the HuffPo recently reminded its readers that saying “Merry Christmas” excludes people — raising a glass of holiday cheer might feel out-of-place.
The media’s reaction to the news of the party’s cancellation is predictable — and priceless. At 7:49 this morning, CNN’s April Ryan tweeted out “This is just sad on a lot of levels! Trump cancels White House Christmas party for the press,” then minutes later added:
FYI, I had never planned to attend the White House Christmas party last year or this year. Why break bread with folks who hate you & call you names? (@PressSec & @realDonaldTrump) That is not the Christmas spirit I know. I feel sorry for those who wanted to go and can't. SAD!
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) December 13, 2018
Other outlets were just straight-out accusatory:
Trump has become the president who stole Christmas https://t.co/wDYhoY4eMq
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 13, 2018
Donald Trump or The Grinch? White House cancels Christmas party to spite the press https://t.co/AVgYEPRFOJ
— Salon (@Salon) December 13, 2018
Of the tradition, Fox notes:
The annual Christmas-season gathering was a significant perk for those covering the White House, as well as other Washington reporters, anchors and commentators, and New York media executives would regularly fly in for the occasion. At its peak, the invitation-only soirees grew so large that there were two back-to-back events, one for broadcast outlets and one for print organizations.
Presumably invitations went out to some higher-up government officials as well, but that would be equally inappropriate at least for Nancy Pelosi, who, one guesses, doesn’t celebrate Christmas anymore.